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Calls For 'Passionate And Practical' Care Decisions From New Minister

A group that represents care leavers in Jersey says it hopes the new Children's Minister will call on the 'wealth of experience' available through the island's charities.

Jersey Cares CEO, Carly Glover, has congratulated Deputy Jeremy Maçon on his recent appointment as Minister for Children and Housing.

She says the group has heard from people who are or were in care, who said outlining the government's full vision for people in care is something they would like to see addressed from the new Minister:

"Sometimes we hear the vision is to be 'OFSTED Good' or 'OFSTED Outstanding' or for there to be more stability in the workforce.

"I think what's interesting is if you look at other countries like New Zealand, Scotland, and now England - who are waking up to the fact there's a big problem with care. The systems don't tend to enable meaningful relationships as children often move multiple times, and leaving it with no stable relationships.

"The vision needs to go above and beyond OFSTED ratings, and look at who we are as an island, what we want for those children, and how as a close-knit community we can achieve that."

Carly says she 'desperately hopes' to see the new Minister take full advantage of the experience groups outside of government, and 'work together collaboratively, as adults' to make things better for care leavers.

Deputy Jeremy Maçon was named as the new Minister for Children and Housing this week.

She called on Deputy Maçon to make the most of the work being done outside of government by working together for the good of young people:

"Organisations like ours, and there are a number of them, bring some really niche knowledge - be that Brighter Futures, Enable Jersey, Mind Jersey or ourselves - we have some specialist knowledge of the lived experiences of people growing up in care.

"The people who we work with have that first-hand knowledge, we also have connections to a range of experts on and off-island and community partners."

She went on to praise the former Minister, Senator Sam Mézec, for taking time to speak with people who grew up in care, and using their feedback to shape government decisions:

"I feel it's important to recognise the time Senator Mézec took to speak with people who have lived experience of care and to note that that has informed policy decisions and the actions the government has taken, underpinned with a need for children to feel loved, to belong, and to have opportunities to achieve their full potential."

The Minister is also being encouraged to find a 'passionate and practical' way to resolve the Care Memorial dispute.

Deputy Maçon spoke out against the £200,000 sculpture planned for the Weighbridge, despite it being recommended by a Citizen's Panel - including some care survivors.

The three shortlisted designs for the Weighbridge memorial.

Others have campaigned against it - saying the money could be spent supporting children today.

The Jersey Cares CEO told Channel 103 she understands the Minister's predicament and involving both the Citizens Panel that recommended it, and other abuse survivors who oppose the scheme, is likely to be the best way forward:

"It is incumbent on the government to look at the views, wishes, needs and trauma of a large number of people who have concerns.

"I don't think there's a straightforward answer. It's built on an idea called 'co-production' and that means you involve lots of different people with lived experience in different ways of finding a solution.

"The solution is going to come through dialogue with those people, and if it's imposed on either group, there's a risk it could cause a big deal of pain and suffering."

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